Nuclear energy is needed by countries that want nuclear weapons. Apart from that, nuclear power is just one big white elephant.
Australia is likely to end up stuck with its colonial role of world’s uranium quarry and radioactive waste dump. Unless Australia gets smart and gets with 21st Century sustainable technologies.
The false message of the nuclear lobby is that in order to reduce greenhouse gases, and have enough energy, we need nuclear energy.
In fact, both of these goals can be met quickly, cheaply and cleanly, by just stopping wasting energy.
Energy wastage can be stopped – in the home, in business, in transport, building and manufacturing. The European Plan has already shown how effectively energy can be saved through existing energy efficincy procedures. http://www.energyscience.org.au/FS04%20Energy%20Efficiency.pdf
Cost-effective energy management. There are many ways to implement cost effective energy in homes, offices, industries. Australia is not doing this yet, due to market problems, lack of information, differing aims of landlords and tenants.lack of institutionalset-ups for delivering services such a sheating and cooling in the least costly way.
Government action would solve these problems by regulating energy performance standards for both existing and new buildings, appliances, equipment and industrial processes.
2. The other component: renewable energy – (and let’s not forget,- while there are set up and maintenance costs – the fuel is free.)
Gas is a good energy source to tide us over the change to renewables, and can provide back-up for solar. Wind power could supply 20% of Australia’s electricity needs by 2040. Agricultural and forestry residues could supply 30%. Solar energy is advancing, but would require special assistance schemes.
The BASELOAD FALLACY
A baseload power station, in theory, provides elctricity 24 hours a day.. In practise, they are costly to manintain, and do break down.. So they have reserve plant, and peakload pland (gas turbines or hydro-electricity.
Renewable energy can provide several different baseload technologies.:
- bioenergy – burning crops and rsidues, or converting them to gas
- hot dry rock geothermal power
- solar thermal electricity, with heat storage in hot water or hot rocks
- large scale distributed wind power, with a small amount of occasional backup from peakload plant
Contrary to general opinion, wind power is generally not intermittent, when it is part of a system of several wind farms, or when connected to a national grid.
A renewable energy system would consist of a mix of different energy sources. Ultimately, its success would depend on some limit to economic and population growth, especially in Australia, where there is a limited amount of land available that can meet agricultural needs.
Renewable energy: Facts and figures Telegraph.co.ukBy Paul Eccleston 28 June 08 – “The Renewable Energy Strategy proposals include:
*Obtaining 35GW-40GW of electricity – more than one-third of our current generating capacity – from renewables, mostly wind, by 2020
* This equates to a further 4,000 turbines onshore, and 4,000 offshore to add to the 2,000 already deployed.
* Other contributions from biomass, microgeneration and wave and tidal power including a possible barrier across the Severn Estuary.
* Upgrading and adapting the National Grid to take electricity from the new renewable projects.
* Incentives for building new electricity grid infrastructures.* A new Infrastructure Planning Commission to streamline applications for clean energy projects such as wind farms.
* Helping the planning system deliver by setting up a clear strategy at regional level.
* Possibly giving ‘sweeteners’ such as tax benefits to communities who agree to accept wind farms .
* Raising the amount of electricity that has to come from renewable sources under the Renewables Obligation.
* More financial incentives to encourage a large increase in renewable heat including homes and buildings.
* More financial support for people who fit small-scale heat and electricity technologies in their homes.
* Exploiting full potential of energy from waste rather than putting it into landfill.
* Requiring all biofuels to be sustainable with no effect on food prices or on the environment.
* Promoting the development of new renewable technologies.
*A clear long-term framework to encourage investment bringing jobs and business and addressing skills shortage…..”.
DECENTRALISED ENERGY SYSTEMS -Small is beautiful!
IMAGINE – a 21st Century world, where our heating, light, electricity came with free fuel – from the roofs of our houses, shops, schools, hospitals – where our water came from our own rainwater tanks, as well as from community water systems.
IMAGINE – a convivial 21st Century – where our houses were moderate in size, where there was plenty of community spaces, where we walked more, rode bikes more – ate our meals in sociability – “slow” food, locally grown. Where our cars didn”t go so fast, but were powered by sun or hydro power. where a lot of our entertainment was firsthand – real people, live music.
IMAGINE – where we still had centralised power, also, from solar, wind, and geothermal sources. We still had centralised systems of transport, such as rail. We still had some large centralised systems.
BUT – we had given up our pretentious McMansions, our gas-guzzling big cars. Where we no longer were impressed with BIG – Big corporations, big power, big-deal people – Christina Macpherson
“The large electrical monopolies love nuclear power, coal and oil fired plants. These plants are far too technical and require far too much investment for the average citizen or small business to undertake. The large monopolies do not favor the wide spread use of solar photovoltaic cells, wind generators or other de-centralized production because it would undermine their monopoly.
If one considers the U.S. Dept. of Energy budget one could really call it the Dept. of Oil, Coal and Nuclear Subsidies: there has been no effort to promote alternatives. Oil, coal and nuclear receive an ocean of funding, while alternatives receive a drip. That is because the huge energy monopolies control the energy debate in Congress through their campaign contribution largesse. Any representative who promotes nuclear as a solution simply has not heard both sides of the story…….”. – Jay Miller, Nuclear power will not solve the problems of global warming
Small, decentralised energy systems are not a new idea. They’ve been around for ages. For just about my whole life, I’ve had a little solar-powered calculator. But new little gadgets are here, too. For example, in Kenya, where access to electricity is limited, solar-powered cell-phones are the go.
Schumacher’s ideas are even more relevant today. He saw that continued endless growth is impossible in our finite planet, and argued for a more down to earth and human way of organising society, and energy use.
The idea of small energy sources is foreign and deeply disturbing to the prevailing corporate way of thinking. As Helen Caldicott pointed out – if they could put a blanket around the sun, and sell holes, the power corporations would be happy.
It must be a frightening thought – that people could have their own independent and FREE energy sources.
Yet it does make sense – the more local the energy source, the less need for kilometers of wires. There is such a simplicity in decentralised energy that it is a shock to our prevailing paradigm of Big Power and Big government.